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Title: Composition and structure of riparian areas along a land-use gradient in an agricultural watershed of northeastern Ohio

Author: Goebel, P. Charles; Hix, David M.; Whitman, Heather L.;

Date: 2011

Source: In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 186-196.

Publication Series: General Technical Report - Proceedings

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The restoration of riparian areas along many streams often proceeds with little existing information on the composition and structure of woody riparian vegetation. We examined the woody riparian vegetation in three subwatersheds of the Sugar Creek watershed in Ohio, each with different environmental characteristics (e.g., glacial history, physiography, soils, stream features) and surrounding land-use practices (e.g., forest, pasture, row crops, lawns). At the community level, we found that the overstory (stems ≥ 10.0 cm diameter at breast height [d.b.h.]) and the understory (stems 2.5-10.0 cm d.b.h.) species compositions were not significantly different among riparian areas with different environmental characteristics or surrounding land-use types (multiple response permutation procedure; P = 0.365 and P = 0.325, respectively). However, canonical correspondence analyses suggest relationships among individual overstory species, physiographic and stream variables, and surrounding land use. For example, northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa [arder] Warder ex Engelm.) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) were most frequently associated with riparian areas with surrounding wooded pasture land uses. In terms of structure, we found canopy openness to be significantly different among riparian areas adjacent to different land uses (Kruskall-Wallis, P = 0.007); we also found differences in understory stem density. These results suggest that environmental factors interacting with surrounding land-use types are associated with woody riparian vegetation, often resulting in riparian areas with simplified canopy structures and reduced complexity that may complicate riparian restoration efforts.

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Citation:


Goebel, P. Charles; Hix, David M.; Whitman, Heather L. 2011. Composition and structure of riparian areas along a land-use gradient in an agricultural watershed of northeastern Ohio. In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 186-196.

 


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